Obviously, any profession is going to include a certain number of loathsome shitheels. It's just that you think of school teachers and administrators as people who got into it for the love of kids. It's not like those jobs pay much, after all. So while you may get some lazy or incompetent faculty, you don't expect these people to be running toddler fight clubs in the basement.
And yet, all too often you hear about disgusting shit like ...
#6. California School Districts Steal Low-Income Students' Lunch Money
Low-income families can't always afford to send their kids to school with lunch money, so to prevent these kids from coming in every day with a pack lunch consisting of a block of dry ramen and bread crusts, schools allocate funding to provide lunches for them. Unfortunately for kids in California, some schools have regarded this funding as free money that taxpayers have thrown randomly at them to spend however they like. And "however they like" rarely involves cheap meals for poor kids.
"If anyone asks, just say that we're cracking down on childhood obesity."
To be specific, eight school districts around California were found to have misappropriated this money, but the good news is that it was only, uh, $170 fucking million. They channeled the cash into other school expenses, like staff wages (because teachers gotta eat, unlike poor students, apparently), building repairs, and goddamned catering for school board meetings.
It gets worse. The missing money for reduced-cost lunches obviously had to be offset somehow, and schools achieved this by serving kids lower-quality food, cutting down on cafeteria maintenance, and shortening lunch periods -- all of which served to discourage the poorest kids from using it. And it worked! The result was a significant drop in the participation rate for the program. And remember that here "drop in participation" means "an impoverished child didn't eat."
Unless they ate each other, which officials said "basically solves the problem."
But hey, you can't claim these kids aren't getting an education out of it. Finding out just how little the system gives a shit about them is the most important lesson they'll learn all year. You just might not like what they do with that information.
#5. A School Runs a Sweatshop for the Disabled
Disabled students are born into a world that automatically hands them a shit sandwich in terms of their employment prospects. Luckily there are some schools, like the Harold H. Birch Vocational School in Providence, Rhode Island, that are willing to help these students obtain the skills necessary to become productive members of society. And by that we mean they converted the school into a sweatshop.
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Classrooms are already pretty much designed like sweatshops.
In an apparent experiment to see if life could truly be lived like a Charles Dickens villain, school officials forced students to work long days building and bagging jewelry that the school could sell, possibly to offset the costs of the cold gruel students were no doubt being force-fed. In return, students received the generous salary of 50 cents to $2 per hour and a piss-poor education.
To boil the blood even more, the whistle was blown on this racket back in 2011. Rather than follow the recommendations of city officials who wanted to pink slip the pants off of the school's principal, school officials and parents voted to keep him, possibly because by this stage he'd engineered some kind of North Korea-style cult of personality.
Plus they really dug the guy's jewelry designs.
On a positive note, the local government and school board saw to it that the Harold H. Birch Vocational School shelled out back pay to the tune of $250,000. In light of the exploitation observed, the Department of Labor is looking into adding regulation to prevent schools from horribly misusing their students that way.
Hey, you know what would be even better than having that rule? Living in a world where "don't use disabled kids as slave labor" doesn't have to be spelled out for people.
#4. A School Superintendent Leaves Children Behind
The 2001 No Child Left Behind Act provided a paid incentive for teachers based on how many of their little tykes passed their standardized tests. Students could bet their semiliterate asses that, if nothing else, their teachers would make sure they could pass the tests, even if that meant forsaking all other educational priorities and bathroom breaks. But in El Paso, Texas, school superintendent Lorenzo Garcia masterminded an easier way to get his hands on those sweet, sweet incentive dollars -- by making sure that only his top students took the tests.
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This also earned the school major kudos for reducing classroom size.
Yep, this meant that students who were likely to do poorly on the test were either given an automatic pass or simply kept home. In some cases, truancy officers were sent out to kids' houses like Mafia goons to tell the students not to show up on test days (it's unclear whether this involved giving them an offer they couldn't refuse).
Some low-performing students were skipped ahead a grade in order to prevent them from compromising the test scores. In some cases, students were given "turbo-mesters," allowing them to earn credits for entire semesters of school with a single three-hour computer program, hence removing any need to contaminate the pool of successful test takers. In other cases, parents were encouraged to send their lagging children to charter schools.
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Some kids were told to leave school and get on with their lives.
While Garcia was raking in financial bonuses and randomly using public money to make shady construction deals with his mistress, the students he was failing would sometimes drop out of high school altogether, internalizing their artificial failure as a sign that they were beyond saving.
Garcia actually went to prison for this, getting sentenced to 3.5 years behind bars (his sentence was later reduced, because of course it was).